Philadelphia Eagles draft pick tracker 2021: Round-by-round selections, analysis and grades

Martin Frank
Delaware News Journal
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The Eagles needed a lot of help at a lot of positions in this year's NFL Draft. Fortunately for them, they had a lot of picks to address those needs.

Did they get it done?

Here is your one-stop shop for every pick the Eagles made in the 2021 NFL Draft, including grades and analysis for every selection.:

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith catches a touchdown pass in front of Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade during the first half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Round 1, No. 10: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

(from San Francisco via Miami and Dallas)

The Eagles desperately needed a playmaker at wide receiver, and once there was a question that Smith might not make it to No. 12, the Eagles traded up two spots with the rival Dallas Cowboys, of all teams, for the Heisman Trophy winner. Smith makes up for his perceived lack of size (166 pounds) with great speed and leaping ability. He had 1,856 receiving last season, including 215 yards on 12 catches in the first half of the national championship game before leaving with a hand injury. 

Grade: A-

28. Steelers - Landon Dickerson, C/G, Alabama

Round 2, No. 37: Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama

The Eagles are clearly thinking about replacing either center Jason Kelce or right guard Brandon Brooks in the near future by picking Dickerson, who began at Florida State before transferring to Alabama in 2019. Dickerson won the Rimington Trophy as the best center in the nation that season. He was having another strong season when he tore his ACL in the SEC Championship in December. It’s not known if he'll be ready for the start of the season. For Dickerson, it's the latest in a long injury history. He tore his other ACL as a freshman at FSU, and had two major ankle injuries that cost him most of two seasons. So Dickerson is a risk, much like Sidney Jones was in 2017. The Eagles lost that gamble with Jones, but they're confident they won't lose this one. Still, they passed up cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at positions of greater need.

Grade: B-

Texas running back Keaontay Ingram (26) is up ended by Louisiana Tech safety L'Jarius Sneed (1) and defensive end Milton Williams (97) on a run during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Round 3, No. 73: Milton Williams, DT, La. Tech

(From Carolina)

Like Dickerson, Williams doesn't fill an immediate position of need as the Eagles did not draft a defensive back or linebacker in the first three rounds. And there was apparent discord in the Eagles' war room after the pick. But Williams, who's 6-3, 284 pounds, can provide a push up the middle, with 10 sacks in the last two seasons. Williams will likely have to add some bulk in order to be effective against the run. Williams has promise with his athleticism. But again, the Eagles passed on a cornerback for an unproven player.

Grade: C

East returner Zech McPherson (4) runs a missed field goal from the end zone to the 4-yard line (Photo: Alex Gallardo, Associated Press)

Round 4, No. 123: Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech

(From Miami)

The Eagles finally took a defensive back. McPhearson presents good value at this spot, and the Eagles considered trading back into the third round to get him. But at 5-11, 191 pounds, McPhearson projects as more of a nickel corner, when the Eagles needed a starter on the outside. McPhearson is from an extremely athletic family, and he can contribute. He was a first-team All-Big 12 pick in 2020, leading his team with 4 INTs and 6 pass breakups. He also had 53 tackles.

Grade: C+

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis

Round 5, No. 150: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis

Gainwell really had only one season of college football. He decided to redshirt after 4 games as a freshman in 2018 because Memphis was loaded at running back with Darrell Henderson and Tony Pollard. Then he opted out in 2020. But in 2019 Gainwell rushed for 1,459 yards on 231 carries, with 13 TDs. At 5-8, 201 pounds, Gainwell describes himself as "a rare breed," in that he runs to contact. He could be a good complement to Miles Sanders. He’s also Fletcher Cox’s cousin.

Grade: B+

Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC

Round 6, No. 189: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC

The Eagles continued to bolster defensive tackle, adding Tuipulotu, perhaps signaling that there will be turnover at the position as soon as next season, most likely with Javon Hargrave. Tuipulotu broke out as a redshirt sophomore in 2019. He had 2 sacks, 3 pass breakups and 6 tackles for losses. He was even better last season, making first team All-Pac-12 with 2 sacks in 6 games. At 6-2, 307, Tuipulotu was projected to go in the fifth round.

Grade: B-

Coastal Carolina defensive end Tarron Jackson walks off of the field after an injury during the first half of an NCAA college football game against BYU Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Conway, S.C. Jackson was selected to The Associated Press All-America first-team defense, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

Round 6 No. 191: Tarron Jackson, Edge, Coastal Carolina

(From Carolina) 

Jackson set a school record with 10 sacks in 2019 and followed that up in 2020 with a team-high 14 tackles for loss. He also had 8.5 sacks and 54 tackles and 3 forced fumbles. Jackson has the potential to rotate in at defensive end behind Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat. Not all of them are expected to return in 2022. Barnett, for example, can be a free agent. 

Grade: B+

LSU Tigers safety JaCoby Stevens hits Clemson Tigers wide receiver Amari Rodgers in the second quarter.

Round 6, No. 224: JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU 

(Compensatory selection)

The Eagles added to the secondary with a safety in Stevens who started out as a wide receiver. Unless, that is, he’s used as a linebacker. Stevens was a top-25 national recruit coming out of high school in Tennessee, but made the switch to defense during his freshman season. The 6-1, 212 pounder was a starter on the 2019 national championship team, with 5 sacks, 3 INTs and 6 pass breakups. He wasn’t as good last season. But Stevens is considered too small as a linebacker and not fast enough as a safety.

Grade: C+

Houston Cougars running back Grant Stuard (35) breaks the tackle of Tulane Green Wave defensive end Patrick Johnson (34) in the third quarter at TDECU Stadium.

Round 7, No. 234: Patrick Johnson, DE, Tulane

Johnson is the fourth defensive lineman out of nine overall picks, a clear sign that the Eagles plan to rebuild on the defensive line over the next few years. Johnson, who's 6-2, 240 pounds, is rather compact as a DE, but he did tie for second in the nation with 10 sacks last season. He set a Tulane record with 24.5 in his career. A solid pick.

Grade: B

2021 NFL draft: Team-by-team picks

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfrankfnfl.

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